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Thu Jan 16, 2014, 11:22 AM

An End to Arrogant Atheism

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/roy-speckhardt/an-end-to-arrogant-atheis_b_4602404.html

Roy Speckhardt
Executive Director, American Humanist Association

Posted: 01/15/2014 1:55 pm

As an atheist who is also a humanist, I find that in our efforts to point out the dangers and failings inherent in religion, we sometimes fall into the language of arrogance. I read a recent quote from famed evolutionary biologist and past Humanist of the Year awardee, Richard Dawkins, which, upon reflection, showed that even he can fall prey to this tendency. He stated that "religion is an organized license to be acceptably stupid." While Dawkins certainly has a valid point regarding mainstream religion's frequent opposition to critical thinking and empiricism, he makes his point in such a way that is likely to leave religious people offended by, instead of interested in atheism and rational thinking.

Dawkins did something similar when he stated that the combined number of Nobel Prizes won by Muslims was less than that won by a single English university, implying that the notoriously nonreligious achievements of academia are superior to those of adherents of an entire religion. Yet again, Dawkins has a valid point -- that the anti-science mentality of many religions has limited its adherents from learning about science and working in the scientific field, but by saying it in such a way, he is less likely to inspire mainstream religious people to care about science, and more likely to offend and antagonize them.

I know Richard Dawkins to be a self-effacing and warm person, but when he says things like that above, it harms more than helps. Unfortunately, he is not the only atheist to make these kinds of statements, as our movement has a history of sometimes blatant elitism. Past American Humanist Association Honorary President Gore Vidal once said, "There is not one human problem that could not be solved if people would simply do as I advise." Clearly, even humanists aren't immune from such arrogant behavior.

It's important to note that the subset of atheism I think is a problem isn't the so-called "militant atheism" that encourages evangelizing disbelief; there's nothing inherently wrong with promoting one's position to others. And I'm definitely not talking about the so-called "angry atheism," because the nonreligious should be mad about abuses by religious organizations and discrimination against religious and irreligious minorities. What's often holding us back is "arrogant atheism," which is seen when atheists speak as if their view is infallible, and act as if their unwavering non-belief makes them superior to those who do believe.

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Arrow 74 replies Author Time Post
Reply An End to Arrogant Atheism (Original post)
cbayer Jan 2014 OP
JNelson6563 Jan 2014 #1
cbayer Jan 2014 #2
Warren Stupidity Jan 2014 #5
shenmue Jan 2014 #6
amuse bouche Jan 2014 #3
cbayer Jan 2014 #4
amuse bouche Jan 2014 #14
cbayer Jan 2014 #17
trotsky Jan 2014 #22
cleanhippie Jan 2014 #60
skepticscott Jan 2014 #61
Brainstormy Jan 2014 #52
cbayer Jan 2014 #53
skepticscott Jan 2014 #54
Post removed Jan 2014 #59
Brettongarcia Jan 2014 #7
cbayer Jan 2014 #10
ladjf Jan 2014 #28
gcomeau Jan 2014 #8
Brettongarcia Jan 2014 #9
cbayer Jan 2014 #12
skepticscott Jan 2014 #25
longship Jan 2014 #13
longship Jan 2014 #11
cbayer Jan 2014 #16
trotsky Jan 2014 #18
longship Jan 2014 #19
cbayer Jan 2014 #20
longship Jan 2014 #21
trotsky Jan 2014 #15
edhopper Jan 2014 #23
cbayer Jan 2014 #24
edhopper Jan 2014 #29
cbayer Jan 2014 #30
Brettongarcia Jan 2014 #31
cbayer Jan 2014 #32
Walk away Jan 2014 #26
cbayer Jan 2014 #27
Walk away Jan 2014 #34
cbayer Jan 2014 #35
Walk away Jan 2014 #39
cbayer Jan 2014 #42
skepticscott Jan 2014 #55
pinto Jan 2014 #46
skepticscott Jan 2014 #56
pinto Jan 2014 #57
skepticscott Jan 2014 #58
skepticscott Jan 2014 #62
pinto Jan 2014 #63
skepticscott Jan 2014 #65
Starboard Tack Jan 2014 #66
skepticscott Jan 2014 #67
Starboard Tack Jan 2014 #68
Warren Stupidity Jan 2014 #69
Starboard Tack Jan 2014 #70
Warren Stupidity Jan 2014 #71
Starboard Tack Jan 2014 #72
skepticscott Jan 2014 #73
skepticscott Jan 2014 #74
rug Jan 2014 #64
dimbear Jan 2014 #33
cbayer Jan 2014 #36
dimbear Jan 2014 #37
cbayer Jan 2014 #38
dimbear Jan 2014 #40
cbayer Jan 2014 #45
dimbear Jan 2014 #47
cbayer Jan 2014 #48
dimbear Jan 2014 #49
cbayer Jan 2014 #50
trotsky Jan 2014 #43
LostOne4Ever Jan 2014 #41
cbayer Jan 2014 #44
dimbear Jan 2014 #51

Response to cbayer (Original post)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 11:28 AM

1. Valid points. I find arrogant Christians to be quite annoying

and tend to tune them out early on. So it makes sense that the reverse would be true.

If people have a genuine desire to communicate with others they figure it out, the importance of word choice. If they are just obnoxious assholes they don't figure it out 'cause they probably don't care to.

Julie

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Response to JNelson6563 (Reply #1)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 11:31 AM

2. Agree. I find arrogance in general a turn off.

Particularly when people are arrogant about things for which there is not a "right" answer.

But I, like the author, see a lot of movement towards increased understanding and true empathy.

As with all movements, you need some militants to kick the doors open. But once open, a different approach is likely to become more effective.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #2)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 11:37 AM

5. like demonic possession, for example.

 

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Response to JNelson6563 (Reply #1)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 11:39 AM

6. Good point



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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 11:34 AM

3. Disagree 100%

I find Dawkins and atheists in general, much too tolerant of all the ignorant buffoons

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Response to amuse bouche (Reply #3)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 11:35 AM

4. This, of course, is not surprising.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #4)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 11:56 AM

14. Duck Dynasty thanks you and millions of other good ol 'mercans

for support and or polite tolerance of their bigotry, wrapped in bullet proof religion. They really..really count on y'all

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Response to amuse bouche (Reply #14)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 11:59 AM

17. I will accept no thanks from Duck Dynasty and will actively oppose their bigotry,

with or without the support of religion.

Bullet proof? Hardly.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #17)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 12:40 PM

22. But who are you to question their religious beliefs, cbayer?

Perhaps you and I are wrong, and there really is a god.

And perhaps liberal Christians are wrong, and god really does oppose homosexuality.

Who can truly say, cbayer? Are you arrogant enough to tell the Robertsons their deeply-held religious beliefs are wrong, when you just don't know for sure?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #17)

Fri Jan 17, 2014, 10:41 AM

61. Sounds pretty damned intolerant to me

 

Shouldn't you be trying to accept and understand different opinions?

As someone who has proclaimed their authority on the subject recently said:

It's not always an easy road to travel, but it is definitely more rewarding when you accept the fact that everyone doesn't feel or think the same way. Imagine what a boring world that would be.

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Response to amuse bouche (Reply #3)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 05:49 PM

52. Ditto!

There's absolutely nothing in the post with which I would agree. Being religious is to be ignorant by choice.

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Response to Brainstormy (Reply #52)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 05:55 PM

53. Ignorant of what?

Being ignorant would imply that there is something to be known. What might that be?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #53)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 06:48 PM

54. Ask religious people

 

they claim to know it.

Oh, wait…that's right…you think religious people don't claim to know or believe anything at all...

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Response to Brainstormy (Reply #52)


Response to cbayer (Original post)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 11:41 AM

7. I disagree. Critics of religion were all-too-polite for centuries; that allowed delusions to thrive

After centuries of veiled - and ineffective - criticisms, a little in-your-face criticism and confrontationalism, seems useful.

Not always; but occasionally.

Religionists are used to endless flattery; telling themselves their are the "chosen people," the only people who know absolute, holy truth. They are used to any criticisms being veiled, blunted. (Out of fear of retribution?). Or censored.

So? SOME occasional rudeness and ridicule is often the fastest way to teach a little humility to these very, very vain and proud persons.

Personally, I think more objective, reasoned arguments are better. But? There is a time and place for SOME confrontationalism. Even arrogant dismissal.

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Response to Brettongarcia (Reply #7)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 11:53 AM

10. I don't disagree with you.

I re-watched "How to Survive a Plague" the other night and was again reminded of the critical role ACT UP played during the AIDS epidemic. Their in-your-face activism was what turned the tide, but an inevitable schism ensued when confrontation become much less effective.

And the author doesn't say that everyone should hold hands and sing songs. He, like you, thinks there remains a place for what you are calling rudeness and ridicule.

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Response to Brettongarcia (Reply #7)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 02:03 PM

28. Good post. Thanks. nt

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 11:44 AM

8. Heh...

 

"He stated that "religion is an organized license to be acceptably stupid." While Dawkins certainly has a valid point regarding mainstream religion's frequent opposition to critical thinking and empiricism, he makes his point in such a way that is likely to leave religious people offended by, instead of interested in atheism and rational thinking. "



Translation...

"Well yeah that's true... but come on... dress it up in nicer language or something..."



The thing is, sometimes being blunt has its virtues. That's not to argue that the diplomatic approach doesn't also have it's virtues, but not everyone has to do either one or the other. Let Dawkins be blunt. He's effective that way. And Speckhardt can feel free to try to dress the truth up in more palatable language for those who can't deal with it head on.

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Response to gcomeau (Reply #8)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 11:50 AM

9. Looks good; thanks!

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Response to gcomeau (Reply #8)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 11:55 AM

12. I don't think the author would disagree with you.

It's about being thoughtful in your approach and recognizing that some methods work better in some situations.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #12)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 01:41 PM

25. Except that your only criterion

 

for deciding whether an approach would be effective is whether it would be effective with YOU. You take no heed to people who think differently than you do. Your own personal experience and feelings are always the deciding factors.

And yes, sometimes being blunt and dismissive, and calling nonsense what it is, is far more effective at convincing people than wishy-washy, mealy-mouthed accommodationist crap, like "well, I sorta kinda think you're wrong about the earth being 10,000 years old, but I still respect your opinion, and I guess we can't be absolutely sure about anything, can we?"

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Response to gcomeau (Reply #8)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 11:55 AM

13. I would agree with this, too.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 11:54 AM

11. Note: he likes Dawkins.

Just like I do. That doesn't mean I agree with everything he says.

The problem with his argument is that many people do not discriminate between "militant", "angry", and "arrogant". I am a militant, angry atheist. I am militant and angry because of the special privilege given to religious people in today's United States, especially in politics and government which is important to me.

Some would call it arrogance when I would say that they are wrong to filter all their life decisions through their religious beliefs, especially within the sphere of government. So be it.

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Response to longship (Reply #11)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 11:57 AM

16. Actually I think you exemplify a moderated position and that

makes you very effective at expressing your POV and others actually listening to it.

At least that's been my experience with you.

It is possible to be militant and angry without being arrogant. I have never experienced you as arrogant.

You also stop yelling long enough to listen, a trait that is really valuable.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #16)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 12:15 PM

18. Well there's one notable person who consistently refuses to listen to a growing list of people...

right here, in this very group, no matter whether they're yelling or not. That's pretty arrogant, IMHO.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #16)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 12:16 PM

19. There is nothing moderate about my atheism, however.

But I am generally nice to believers, at least until they tell me I am going to hell, or some other type of insanity. Then I might let them have it (verbally, of course). Some might call that arrogant.

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Response to longship (Reply #19)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 12:21 PM

20. I realize that, but the way you express yourself and treat others is "moderated", not

necessarily moderate.

I think telling you that you are going to hell is about as arrogant as it can get.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #20)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 12:26 PM

21. ROFL. That I would agree with.



And thank you for your kind words.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 11:56 AM

15. Context helps, not that it matters when everyone's favorite atheist boogeyman is involved.

What Dawkins actually said (in a tweet) was:

"Many people are stupid anyway, and many religious people are not stupid. But religion is an organised licence to be acceptably stupid."

So what he actually said is that some people (believers and non-believers) are stupid, some people (believers and non-believers) aren't, but religion can be used to legitimize stupidity.

For Exhibit A, I offer this.

Exhibits B through ZZZZZZZZZZZ include items like the Creation Museum, Pat Robertson's ministries, Fred Phelps, and so on.

Unfortunately what this article (and many of its type that you love to post) tries to do is to provide a reason to disregard ALL of what someone says because someone else doesn't like HOW they said it. I.e., the tone troll method.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 12:48 PM

23. It ain't what he says

it's how he says it I guess.

My wife often complains about "my tone", must be on of those things.

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Response to edhopper (Reply #23)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 01:01 PM

24. Sometimes "tone argument" is used to dismiss someone's POV, but

I think tone can be really important.

One of the downfalls of internet communication is the loss of cues to detect tone. That can lead to a lot of misunderstanding.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #24)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 02:10 PM

29. I know JUST what you mean.

I KNOW just what you mean.

I know just what YOU MEAN!

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Response to edhopper (Reply #29)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 02:19 PM

30. Eggsactly.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #30)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 02:38 PM

31. HEY! NO FAIR!

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Response to Brettongarcia (Reply #31)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 02:43 PM

32. Its you're prerogrative to type what your thinking.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 01:52 PM

26. The religious have been torturing and killing people for milliniums and....

they don't like if when people who don't buy their bunk get snarky??? Religion would be funny if it weren't so dangerous.

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Response to Walk away (Reply #26)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 01:56 PM

27. Humans have been torturing and killing each other for millennia.

Some of them were religious, some of them were not.

Are you really holding all currently religious people responsible for the behavior of religious people in the past?

Germans treated people pretty badly too. Should we treat all germans with derision and contempt?

He's not talking about snark.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #27)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 03:02 PM

34. Well, let's see....

I could go on for days but I'll give you my two favorite religious angels of death from our times.

Pope Ratzenberg and his instructions (in the name of his religion) to millions and millions of Catholics around the world not to wear condoms. It was especially horrific and deadly because he was directing the terrible lie that condoms would cause AIDS to the people of Africa. How many hundreds of thousands of people believed him and how many spread AIDS, how many babies were born with it, how many people died because of the sick belief that this murderer was speaking god's words on Earth? Do I hold the people who followed and supported him responsible? Yes. I believe they share in some part of the blame. They gave him his power.
Mother Theresa and her cult of anti-contraceptionists peddling her dangerous religious beliefs in countries where children live on garbage heaps and babies starve, because her god told her that it's a sin to take the pill or use a condom. How many children starved to death because of her? How many women were consigned to lives of poverty? This is a woman who kept contraceptives out of the hands of entire countries. Yet her religion made her a saint because she opened a few orphanages and played the saintly nun to the hilt in the press.
Maybe there is an Atheist out there causing thousands or millions of deaths in the name of and because of his rational beliefs. You'll have to tell me who he is

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Response to Walk away (Reply #34)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 03:05 PM

35. No need. I am perfectly aware of the evils that have been inflicted by some

in the name of religion.

I can also cite many religious people and organizations that have provided services to AIDS patients in places where no one else did.

I could also go on for days.

So what? Are we keeping score or just holding most of the people of the world responsible for the actions of a few?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #35)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 03:23 PM

39. Putting bandaids on the mortal wounds they cause doesn't impress me...

The reason I blame the sheep that follow the shepherds who cause these "actions" is because without believers their aren't any murdering Popes, rapist priests and poverty spreading saints. I will continue to speak out against the pain and death caused by superstition and especially by organized religion. I have a great deal of respect for anyone who shines a light of truth and science in those dark churches and temples.

And yes I keep score.



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Response to Walk away (Reply #39)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 03:43 PM

42. I don't think there is any objection to you speaking out against atrocities,

be they religiously driven or not. It's a noble cause.

Do you have a great deal of respect for the religious who shine lights of truth and science in churches and temples? Or are they exempt?

Why do you keep score?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #42)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 10:40 PM

55. Can't wait to hear

 

which religious people are shining lights of "truth and science" in churches and temples.

Their names, please?

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Response to Walk away (Reply #34)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 04:05 PM

46. Catholic doctrine has definitely exacerbated HIV transmission, yet it's a multi-factorial picture.

On the African continent, women represent the face of AIDS. Their challenges - biologically, culturally, socially, familial, religiously - all contribute to a "perfect storm" for HIV transmission. And they continue to. Changes are happening in prevention, care and treatment, though.

A good overview is here - http://www.consultancyafrica.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1135:the-catholic-church-versus-hivaids-in-africa-&catid=61:hiv-aids-discussion-papers&Itemid=268

(It's a bit dated, from 2012)

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Response to pinto (Reply #46)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 10:46 PM

56. In other words

 

"It's complicated" Same old disgusting refrain.

That you can be an apologist for such despicable behavior is beyond belief. The RCC KNOWS that using condoms can help prevent AIDS, and save thousands of lives, prevent thousands of horrible, lingering deaths. And yet they persist in their "every sperm is sacred" doctrine.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #56)

Fri Jan 17, 2014, 01:17 AM

57. Your attitude is the same old disgusting refrain. I'm no apologist. I recognize the RCC's role

in the epidemic and said so. I didn't say it was "complicated". I said it was multi-factorial, i.e. there's more than one factor in play in transmission trends on the African continent. That's not complicated, that's the big picture. All, including religion, need to be addressed to stem the tide.

Drop your tunnel vision antagonism here, walk a mile in my shoes and you may get it. Or at least join in some constructive discussion.

I've had AIDS for ~ 25 years, worked in prevention, care and treatment for ~ 20 years. Your behavior in this discussion is despicable, imo. Have you anything to offer other than condescension and a rote rant on the topic?

Or, more to the point, walk a mile in a sub-Saharan woman's shoes.

I'd welcome your input if it wasn't so simplistically combative. Thanks.

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Response to pinto (Reply #57)

Fri Jan 17, 2014, 08:12 AM

58. Yes, you claim to recognize the RCC's role

 

And then go to great lengths to minimize it, and make it seem less important than it is. That's what apologists like you do.

And if you think I've been despicable in holding the RCC's feet to the fire on this issue (trying to point the finger somewhere else is another classic apologist tactic, btw), then you're sadly misguided. But I doubt you'll have the honesty to step up and say exactly what about MY behavior in this discussion has been "despicable", when compared to what the RCC has done in Africa. As far as those "complicated" "multi-factorial" contributions, the RCC has done far worse than nothing..they've exacerbated the problem, and made it even worse than it would have been, even with all of those other factors in play. And for what good reason? Tell us that. What justifies their contribution to thousands of horrible deaths?

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Response to pinto (Reply #57)

Sat Jan 18, 2014, 02:35 PM

62. As expected, you fling poo and call people "despicable"

 

and then run and hide when challenged to back up your crap. That seems to be endemic among the religionists on this board, despite their self-righteousness about "civility".

And my "rant" as you so condescendingly and combatively call it, wouldn't need to be "rote" if the RCC's policies weren't the same knee-jerk mantra forever, immune to evidence, argument or truth. As long as they keep pursuing the exact same disgraceful policies, the exact same criticism is warranted. As far as any alleged "condescension" on my part, how do you suggest that an organization that denies categorically that condoms can prevent AIDS be treated?

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #62)

Sat Jan 18, 2014, 04:26 PM

63. I feel I ought to reply one time. I'm not going to hold any discussions with you.

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Response to pinto (Reply #63)

Sat Jan 18, 2014, 05:01 PM

65. No, you'd rather just spew bile and then run away

 

Not surprising, since you're trying to defend something indefensible on the facts.

My behavior in this thread, having ruffled your feathers: Despicable

The Catholic Church's behavior in Africa, contributing to untold human suffering and death: ??? Complex? Something that should be rationalized for and downplayed? What word would YOU use?

It's pretty obvious where your priorities are.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #65)

Sat Jan 18, 2014, 06:09 PM

66. Do you have any decency at all? Your posts are beyond despicable.

You continually twist and distort the words of others. You poison every thread with your vile comments.

Instead of attacking others for their tolerance and thoughtfulness, you should be reading the OP. It is all about you. Have you learned nothing?

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #66)

Sun Jan 19, 2014, 08:13 AM

67. Yet more ugly and baseless accusations without proof

 

I know that's your way, but that you can do it with a straight face, over and over, while being so preachy about civility and "tolerance" is still truly amazing.

Come on...show the room that you care about something more than spewing bile with no evidence. Assuming you do.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #67)

Sun Jan 19, 2014, 11:40 AM

68. I'm done with you. In fact it looks like everyone is done with you

Even your toadies seem to have abandoned you. Get some help Scott. Or at the very least, take a break. Nobody can survive on hatred alone. It will eat you up.

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #68)

Sun Jan 19, 2014, 01:02 PM

69. I'm wondering if your message above is an example of the sort of tolerance you are advocating in

 

your recent op on the subject.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #69)

Sun Jan 19, 2014, 01:33 PM

70. It is indeed. A perfect example.

Thanks for participating.

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #70)

Sun Jan 19, 2014, 01:38 PM

71. Got it, so by tolerance you mean insufferable arrogant rudeness. OK.

 

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #71)

Sun Jan 19, 2014, 02:05 PM

72. No, I mean tolerating others' right to believe what they choose.

If you choose to believe otherwise, that's your business. If you want to see an example of "insufferable arrogant rudeness", you might want to look closer to home, like the poster whose bigotry you have decided to defend.

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #72)

Sun Jan 19, 2014, 05:23 PM

73. Except that you can't show one example

 

of where I've said that people shouldn't be allowed to believe what they want, or tried to stop other people from believing what they want.

Oh...that's right..you're above all that "proof" nonsense...it's just so because you say it is...

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #71)

Sun Jan 19, 2014, 05:25 PM

74. Don't you just love

 

The "thank you god that I'm not like other atheists" atheists?

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #62)

Sat Jan 18, 2014, 04:49 PM

64. Speaking of "run and hide", how many "religionists" have you put on ignore?

 

Probably the ones who see through the crap you routinely spew.

I must say, this is a new low, attacking someone who's personally dealt with AIDS for a quarter century and then daring to call him an apologist. All because he doesn't buy into the flatness of the hate you post.

The word despicable is mild.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 02:57 PM

33. At the end of the season, which teams go to the bowls? The teams where the players thought

they had a reasonable chance of being a bit up? or the team that was convinced 100% they were number 1???

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Response to dimbear (Reply #33)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 03:07 PM

36. The teams that are 100% convinced they are number 1. But let's look at it another way.

At the end of a discussion with the goal of increasing understanding and tolerance, who is most likely to have been effective?

Sports is about vanquishing you opponent.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #36)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 03:16 PM

37. Perhaps we could arrange interviews with the religions which came in second place, the

Mithraists, the Albigensians, the Cathars, the etc. and ask if they felt they'd been understood and tolerated.

BTW even I know I'm stretching this metaphor.

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Response to dimbear (Reply #37)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 03:17 PM

38. Second place?

You do see this as sport, don't you?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #38)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 03:26 PM

40. There are many possible comparisons. In America, sports metaphors are the most readily grasped.

One could go elsewhere, but easily get into controversies or deep academic waters.

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Response to dimbear (Reply #40)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 03:51 PM

45. How about one where we envision a win-win scenario?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #45)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 04:12 PM

47. The history of the world is strewn with conflicts, most of which are resolved by complete victory.

Standoffs are very, very rare. Check with your neighborhood Cathar, for instance. The very first requirement for a standoff is mutual acceptance.

Judging by the news lately, that ain't happening.





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Response to dimbear (Reply #47)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 04:22 PM

48. What if we have an opportunity to change it.

I'm not talking about a standoff. I'm talking about a resolution.

And I don't hope to resolve the middle east, but what if we could just do it in this small room?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #48)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 05:36 PM

49. I'm satisfied to see the board reflect the changes that are coming to the world.

Can't ask for much more than that.

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Response to dimbear (Reply #49)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 05:38 PM

50. That's fair, except you are such a grumpy, pessimistic bear sometimes.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #38)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 03:45 PM

43. Would you like to see the religion of Fred Phelps lose, or win?

I'd like to see them lose. But I guess that just makes me a horrible nasty atheist who views things as a "team sport."

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 03:37 PM

41. For all things there is a season

I think it really depends upon the context, your purpose, your audience, and goal.

Even mockery has a place.

I keep bring this up because it is one of my favorites, but Letters from the Earth has some of the most humorous mockery of religion I have ever come across combine with places where Mark Twain is outright damning religion. Of course, the people most likely to read that book are those whose mind are already prepared for what is to come.

I would say its great for those who already disbelieve, those who doubt and are looking for more perspective from disbelievers, and simply those who like a good laugh even it is at the expense of their own religion.

Similarly, arrogant atheism probably has a place too. It can be a way of making connections with other non-believers that they are not alone, others think as they do, and showing that its possible to be successful when confronting religion. Yes, there are other ways of doing that but different people have different styles and some are more effective with one tool than another.

And then there are those who might not arguing for anyone but themselves. People who have had their own thoughts and opinions contained and have had enough are are going to share them the way they see them and everyone else be damned.

But, just as there is a season for all things, there are times and places that some things should be avoided. If you are confronting believers about their beliefs with the goal of convincing them that their faith is misplaced mockery and arrogance might not be the best too for the job. Many people only hold onto their beliefs and opinions even more stringently when they feel they have been insulted.

And of course its possible that one person has a different goal and audience than one's own and that the two clash. Thus one sees the other as "harming the 'cause'" and the other sees that one as being an "apologist" when the two have completely different aims.

TLDR:
Depending on what you are trying to argue and to whom your actual audience is YMMV.

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Response to LostOne4Ever (Reply #41)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 03:48 PM

44. In terms of making connections with others, I think you are correct.

There is a comfort in circling the wagons and creating an us vs. them mentality. And it can be very effective when you are being attacked.

And that goes for groups of all kinds, including believers and non-believers, as you eloquently point out.

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Response to LostOne4Ever (Reply #41)

Thu Jan 16, 2014, 05:43 PM

51. Even mockery has a place.

Mockery deserves to be enshrined. That's the first place a repressive entity puts its foot. See "Pussy Riot." See the Wobblies after WWI broke out.

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